The picture isn't any brighter in the Senate, where the Appropriations Committee
unanimously approved a "milcon" measure that contained the same amount of money as the House version.
The House bill includes $1.2 billion for construction and rehabilitation of military family housing, down 12% from 2003. Another $4.8 billion would be allotted for barracks, DOD health care facilities and other projects, down from $5.9 billion this year.
The DOD base closure account continues to shrink, eight years after the most recent
round of installation shutdowns was announced. Under the House bill, the closure program would receive $370 million, down 34% from 2003. More than 85% of the recommended 2004 total would go for environmental cleanup.
Before approving the bill, an amendment from Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.) to add
about $1 billion to the measure was ruled out of order. Obey said the legislation makes "only token progress" toward improving housing for single and married people in the armed services.
With passage of the milcon measure, the House has approved two of the 13 appropriations bills for 2004 as the July 4 recess is about to start. Another
five of the bills have cleared the Appropriations Committee.
fter a Democratic attempt to add more funds was derailed, the House passed legislation cutting military construction in 2004 by $1.5 billion, or 14%, from fiscal 2003's level. The measure, approved June 26 by a 428-0 vote, would provide $9.2 billion for a variety of Dept. of Defense projects around the world.